THE GOD STORY OF BERNARD T. AYOOLA PhD- THE NEW DEAN OF ONLINE EDUCATION AT LEMA
I grew up in a Christian family where we went to church almost every day. We had to; Grandpa was the Church Pastor when I was born. So, I grew up with the notion that good Christians must find time to associate with other believers. I attended bible studies, choir rehearsals and prayer meetings. In hindsight, I may have attended some church events meant for girls just because my twin sister (a girl) was there. In short, I loved the church and felt I belonged there.
I was surprised, though, when I felt called into full-time pastoral ministry in 2000. I was a construction engineer at the time, but I somehow knew God wanted me to dedicate the rest of my life to serving him. My wife and I initially struggled with the decision we had make concerning my change in vocation, but our church pastor helped us to come to terms with the reality of the new direction God was leading us. Several church members were also very supportive. They affirmed God’s call upon our lives and encouraged me to enroll at the Baptist Seminary for pastoral studies.
At that time, I played the organ at the church and served as the music director. So, I knew I would benefit from the training in the MDiv Church Music program of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary. What I did not know at the time was that I will spend the next seventeen years in various seminaries learning about God and how to communicate God’s love to a broken world.
I graduated from the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Nigeria (NBTS) in 2014 with a special MDiv degree in Church Music. Immediately after graduation, I enrolled in the MDiv Pastoral ministry program at the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (GRTS) of Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids and graduated in 2007. I continued my theological education at Calvin Theological Seminary where I completed the Th.M. program in Systematic Theology in 2010 and the PhD in Systematic Theology in 2017.
I was ordained in 2009 as a Commissioned Pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America, and as a Minister of the Word in 2014. I currently serve as an associate pastor at Brookside Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am also the director of African Resource Center of West Michigan, a nonprofit public charity based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have the privilege of teaching seminary courses in Systematic Theology from
time to time. I am happily married to Joke; we are blessed with four lovely children. Over the years, my faith in God has grown through personal reflections and spiritual interactions with God’s people.